Sweet and sappy

It’s time to make maple syrup. After what seems like a long, cold winter we’re facing nights that dip below freezing and heat-wave days of 40 degrees or higher with bright, cheerful sunshine. Perfect weather to get the sap flowing.

The youngsters around here think it’s pretty cool. Suddenly buckets appeared along the lane, in the woods and seemingly everywhere. I’ll admit it’s pretty amazing to hear and see the sap dripping — in some cases running, out of the maple trees.

To get to the sap, holes are drilled about two inches into the tree and three feet from the ground.

A spigot is tapped into the tree allowing the sap to flow out into buckets that hang from each tap. Things were flowing well yesterday. Within an hour or two of tapping the trees, each five gallon bucket boasted several inches of sap.

The sap is thin like water and to our over-salted, over-sweetened taste buds doesn’t have much flavor. Yet. I promised him that some day soon, all of the sap would taste really, really good.

To make maple syrup, the sap is boiled and boiled and boiled some more until the water evaporates and you’re left with the sugary syrup. It takes about 10 gallons of sap to make 1 quart of maple syrup.

Yeah. Kind of unbelievable, huh? It got me to thinking … who was the first person to say, “Hey! If we boil the liquid that comes from a tree we’ll have syrup and sugar to sweeten our food.” Hmmm. Sounds like a great research project for the kids!

The girls tried to explain to Farmboy that we’re not ready for pancakes just yet … but we will be, soon. He wasn’t very happy about it.

Anyway … the sap is flowing here in Ohio!
Go tap a tree or two, collect 10 gallons and boil your way to homemade maple syrup!

Go exploring! You may enjoy these previous posts.

6 Comments

  • comment-avatar
    Melinda February 16, 2011 (8:17 am)

    Making real maple syrup is on my “bucket” list! I can relate to Farmboy’s impatience!

  • comment-avatar
    Lacey Jo February 16, 2011 (8:20 am)

    Arizona girl has never seen such a thing! How neat!

  • comment-avatar
    Jane February 16, 2011 (8:32 am)

    You need to take the kids over to Malabar Farm during their Maple Sugar Days…they have historical actors & talk abt the history of maple syrup, both Indian & pioneer actors. The dirt & crud in the syrpu & sugar the Indians used (and the fact that they REALLY had a sweet tooth for it and used it a LOT) ground and rotted out their teeth! It was a fun day when we took the kids several years ago! 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Farmgirl February 16, 2011 (12:46 pm)

    Sounds like fun!

  • comment-avatar
    The Texan...Not really February 16, 2011 (1:37 pm)

    Very Interesting!! So, I assume the whole putting a hole into the trees doesn’t harm the tree itself? Or the fact that the tree is now short of its supply of sap? Yes, I am showing my ignorance, but I am very intrigued!!

  • comment-avatar
    Farmgirl February 16, 2011 (1:54 pm)

    Howdy, Texan!
    My first thought was to simply say, “Nope, doesn’t hurt the trees.” I figured I should get an official answer from the experts. So … direct from TapMyTrees.com I bring you this:

    Does tapping hurt the tree?
    Tapping a tree does create a wound, but it is a wound from which the tree can readily recover and does not endanger the health of the tree. Commercial syrup producers are able to tap trees for decades without adversely affecting the health of the tree. A vigorous tree will heal, or grow over, a tap hole in one year.